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The California Police Bill of Rights as it is known today could be on its way out if California SB1286 becomes law, shining increased light on police misconduct in the state. Police "unions" and lobbyists like the Peace Officers Research Association of California (PORAC) are expected to fight to maintain the secrecy that currently shields their bad behavior — and legislators historically tend to kowtow to their wishes. The public, however, clearly wants greater access to police records.
Sun Feb 21 2016 (Updated 05/03/16)
Anti-BDS Bills Introduced in California Legislature
Israel’s defenders in the U.S. have intensified their efforts to stifle criticism of Israeli government policies with new bills and laws seeking to censor or punish advocacy in support of Palestinian rights. In California, two anti-BDS bills were introduced by Assembly member Travis Allen. AB 1551, the “California Israel Commerce Protection Act”, would prohibit the state from investing in businesses and institutions that comply with boycotts against Israel or Israeli-controlled territories. AB 1552 would prohibit the state from contracting with entities that engage in what he calls “boycotts due to discrimination and bigotry.”
With the hope of nudging the city forward toward making good on its months-old public promise to initiate permanent investment in the Beach Flats Community Garden, and under imminent threat of legal proceedings against them, on February 16 the gardeners of Beach Flats decided to sign a city letter acquiescing to temporarily leaving the garden plots they have tended so carefully over the past two decades.
On February 18, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced the reclassification of the Santa Cruz cypress from “endangered” to “threatened” status under the Endangered Species Act. The tree was protected in 1987 due to threats to its habitat, but now the habitat for all five populations is secure.
Fri Feb 19 2016 (Updated 03/11/16)
Santa Cruz Police Target Homeless Sleepers Downtown
This month the downtown post office in Santa Cruz was cleared by police of what had been a large and regular presence of sleepers at night. The post office had been used as shelter for 6-12 people a night for some time. A homeless man who was sleeping outside of Bookshop Santa Cruz and cited with two other sleepers for trespassing this month said he thought the police were ticketing at increased rate recently to get homeless people to move along before the next rains arrived.
Sun Feb 14 2016 (Updated 02/16/16)
Three Arrested Defending Gill Tract from Development
On February 9, farm defenders halted construction on the Gill Tract farm in Albany once again. Five farm defenders sat in silent meditation in the path of heavy machinery that was removing topsoil. Contractors attempted to operate the heavy machinery around them despite the risks to the safety of those on site. Three were arrested and two were taken to jail. The two were released later in the day.
Norman “Wounded Knee” DeOcampo (Miwok), a long-time resident of Vallejo, will be taking part in the Longest Walk 5 beginning February 13 at La Jolla Shores in San Diego, California. Wounded Knee is the Founding Executive Director of the Vallejo based organization Sacred Sites Protection and Rights of Indigenous Tribes. (SSPRIT). He is the only person who will have participated in all five Longest Walks.
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